Resolve warnings related using namespaces

This article covers the following compiler errors:

  • CS0138: Error: A using namespace directive can only be applied to namespaces; 'type' is a type not a namespace.
  • CS0431: Error: Cannot use alias 'identifier' with :: since the alias references a type. Use . instead.
  • CS0432: Error: Alias 'identifier' not found.
  • CS0576: Error: Namespace 'namespace' contains a definition conflicting with alias 'identifier'.
  • CS0687: Error: The namespace alias qualifier :: always resolves to a type or namespace so is illegal here. Consider using . instead.
  • CS1529: Error: A using clause must precede all other elements defined in the namespace except extern alias declarations.
  • CS1537: Error: The using alias 'alias' appeared previously in this namespace.
  • CS7000: Error: Unexpected use of an aliased name.
  • CS7007: Error: A using static directive can only be applied to types. Consider a using namespace directive instead
  • CS8083: Error: An alias-qualified name is not an expression.
  • CS8085: Error: A 'using static' directive cannot be used to declare an alias.
  • CS8914: Error: A global using directive cannot be used in a namespace declaration.
  • CS8915: Error: A global using directive must precede all non-global using directives.
  • CS9055: Error: A file-local type cannot be used in a 'global using static' directive.
  • CS9130: Error: Using alias cannot be a ref type.
  • CS9131: Error: Only a using alias can be unsafe.
  • CS9132: Error: Using alias cannot be a nullable reference type.
  • CS9133: Error: static modifier must precede unsafe modifier.
  • CS9162: Type is not valid for 'using static'. Only a class, struct, interface, enum, delegate, or namespace can be used.

And the following compiler warnings:

  • CS0105: Warning: The using directive for 'namespace' appeared previously in this namespace.
  • CS0440: Warning: Defining an alias named global is ill-advised since global:: always references the global namespace and not an alias.
  • CS8019: Info: Unnecessary using directive.
  • CS8933: Info: The using directive appeared previously as global using.

These errors and warnings indicate you're using directive isn't formed correctly. The following sections cover these errors and how to correct them.

Using directive

The using directive must precede any other elements in a namespace declaration, or before any namespace declarations in the file. Putting a using directive later in the file causes the compiler to produce error CS1529:

namespace UsingDirective;
public class MyClass

using System.Text.Json; // CS1529

To fix this issue, move any using declarations to the top of the file or the top of the namespace:

using System.Text.Json;
namespace UsingDirective;
public class MyClass

The compiler produces warning CS8933, CS0105 or diagnostic CS8019 for a duplicate using directive from a using or global using directive. You can remove any duplicates.

Incorrectly combining a using directive with the static, global, or unsafe modifiers on a using directive are covered later in this article.

Using static directive

The using static directive imports one type's members into the current namespace. The following example imports the methods from System.Console, such as WriteLine into the current namespace:

using static System.Console;

The compiler generates CS0138 if you omit the static modifier:

using System.Console; // CS0138

The compiler generates CS7007 if you include the static modifier importing namespace instead of a type:

using static System; // CS7007

The compiler emits CS9162 if the symbol isn't one of the proper types.

If you combine the static modifier with the unsafe modifier in a using directive, the static modifier must come first:

using static unsafe UnsafeExamples.UnsafeType;

Global using directive

A global using directive imports the namespace or type in all source files in the current project:

global using System.Text;

Any global using directives must precede any non-global using directives in that source file, and must not be placed in a namespace. Doing so results in CS8915 and CS8914, respectively.

Furthermore, a static global using directive can't reference a file-local type.

Alias qualifier

The alias qualifier, ::, precedes a namespace alias, or follows the global alias. If you use :: where . should be used to separate elements of a fully qualified name, the compiler emits one of CS0431, CS0432, CS0687, *CS7000, or CS8083.

In all cases, replace the :: with the . separator.

In addition, if you define an alias named global, the compiler issues CS0440. The global alias always refers to the global namespace. Declaring an alias for it doesn't work, and you should pick a different name for your alias.

Alias name conflicts

You can declare an alias to a namespace or a type with a using directive:

using JSON = System.Text.Json;
using ValueMap = System.Collections.Generic.Dictionary<string, decimal>;
using TimedData = (System.DateTime timeRecorded, decimal value);

You should try to create a unique name for the alias, the name on the left of the = sign in the preceding examples. Using a name that already maps to a Type (for example Object) or a namespace (System) can cause CS0576 or CS1537.

Restrictions on using aliases

Prior to C# 12, the language imposed these restrictions on using directives that create an alias for a type declaration:

  • You can't create an alias with a using static directive:

    using static con = System.Console;
    using static unsafe ip = int*;

Beginning with C# 12, these restrictions are introduced:

  • You can't use the in, ref, or out modifiers in a using alias:

    // All these are invalid
    using RefInt = ref int;
    using OutInt = out int;
    using InInt = in int;
  • An unsafe using directive must specify an alias, or a static using:

    // Elsewhere:
    public namespace UnsafeExamples
        public unsafe static class UnsafeType
            // ...
    // Using directives:
    using unsafe IntPointer = int*;
    using static unsafe UnsafeExamples.UnsafeType;
    using unsafe UnsafeExamples; // not allowed
  • You can't create an alias to a nullable reference type:

    using NullableInt = System.Int32?; // Allowed
    using NullableString = System.String?; // Not allowed